Friday, December 31, 2010

u/s 7w2d: exponential growth

Everything went beautifully at yesterday's appointment!  I was shocked at how much both babies grew in only a week.  Shocked.  So here they are at 7 weeks and 2 days:

Baby A now has a c.r.l of 10.0mm.

Baby A has a heartrate of 146 bpm,

Baby B has a c.r.l of 9.2mm.

Baby B's heartrate is 155 bpm.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

baby gifts

Yup, our babies are spoiled already!  Here are the beautiful, thoughtful gifts that our litle ones have received:

a soft blankie and light up Pooh bear that plays "You Are My Sunshine"
from Jamie's Aunt Phyllis

set of 4 cute bibs from Jamie's Aunt Sandy

Sleep Sheep from my Aunt Cathy

guardian angel statue from Jamie's parents

ultrasound picture frame from Nick, Brooke, and Dominick

fraternal blankies =) from my parents

Sunday, December 26, 2010

the day after Christmas = lazy day

So, at the ultrasound on Thursday, they also drew blood.  I wasn't expecting the results until Monday since they had super short hours on Christmas Eve, but I think my nurse knows what a spazz I am about waiting and wondering.  She was kind enough to leave me a voicemail on Friday.  Everything was perfect!  My progesterone was back up from the week prior (from 20 to 32 now).  My estradiol was at 706; they never gave me that one before, so I'm not sure how that compares.  My beta was 61,171.  And above all else, our ultrasound had shown two strong heartbeats. 

We had a great Christmas.  December is always a big month in our house- Jamie's birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, and other family member's birthdays.  Our pregnancy this month just topped it all.  Going into the November transfer my heart knew that the beta results would either make or break a lot of the celebrations this month.  There hasn't been a single day since we got our results on December 8th that I haven't praised God for blessing us with a baby, now 2 babies. 

Our babies are already loved and spoiled.  In the next day or two I'll take some pictures of the loot they've accumulated so far!  Brooke, Nick, and Lil D got us an adorable picture frame for our ultrasound photo that says "Now Showing".  My mom and dad got us two beautiful white blankets that say "baby" in pastel letters.  The lettering is slightly different (printing and cursive) so that way we could tell which baby is in which blanket!  =)  Jamie's parents got us a guardian angel statue to watch over me and the little ones.  There are a few more things we received before the holidays, but I'll share that in another post. 

And now, I'm planning on changing back into my pajamas and parking myself on the couch by the fire with Jamie and Greta and just watching football.

Friday, December 24, 2010

ultrasound- 6 weeks 2 days

Here they are...

Baby A has a crown to rump length (crl) of 2.9mm

Baby A has a heartbeat of 115 beats per minute (bpm)

Baby B has a crown to rump length (crl) of 3.6 mm

Baby B has a heartbeat of 124 beats per minute (bpm)

We were able to hear both babies' big strong heartbeats!  You can see in the first picture that Baby A is very photogenic already.  In the third picture, Baby B is a bit more bashful, but in the bottom right area of the gestational sack is a whitish ring- the yolk sack. Baby B is directly above that. 

We were going to try to wait to tell people, but that didn't really work out too well.  We aren't blabbing just yet, but so far we told my mom, dad, Brooke, Dominick (Brooke and Nick's little man), Jamie's mom, dad, older sister, younger brother, and cousin Amber.  Nick was working, so we'll get him today when he gets out of work.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Good morning, Amanda...

Guess who has two thumbs and just threw up... this gal.

Yup, after days and days of nausea in the morning (and general queasiness and indigestion the entire day), I have finally succumbed to morning sickness.  I called my pharmacy because I had already taken a bunch of medicine, so I didnt' know if I should retake it.  They said nope.  So now, I'm just going to lay back down and relax. 

Tomorrow is going to be a big day; we have what should have been our first ultrasound.  Last Thursday they did a sneak peek one because of my bleeding, but this one should be a good one.  Last week we were already advised to not "talk numbers" with anyone for a while, meaning the number of babies that they spot.  I guess if there are multiples, they just worry early on about a vanishing twin or if there's more than two losing one of them.  I suppose I could see where they're coming from.  I just know that I am not a very good secret keeper when it comes to my own secrets.  I'm pretty good about keeping other people's secrets quiet, just not my own.  We'll just have to see what happens.  If we only see gestational sacks and yolk sacs, I wouldn't share.  But what it we see embryos?  What if we see a heartbeat?  That might make a difference.  But maybe I'd want to see the embryos and heartbeats a couple/few times to be safe...  This is some tough stuff.  All I am asking God for is that we are blessed with one healthy baby.  If there's more, then great, but please give us one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

my first tummy shot (6 weeks)

6 weeks pregnant

an update that's not much of an update

Woo-hoo!  I'm 6 weeks pregnant today!  Things have pretty much been status quo for the last several days.  I've been feeling very nauseous throughout the entire day.  Apparently, I'm having quite the loss of appetite.  I was ravenous last week, but since Saturday I really don't feel hungry.  I make myself eat, of course, because baby needs nourishment.  I'm hoping this changes by Friday, since there is going to be an impressive spread of a lot of my favorite foods for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!  I also can't forget to mention the wonderful personal tropical vacations that I've gone on, mostly at night.  Holy hot flashes!  I woke Jamie up to take my temperature this morning to make sure it wasn't a fever. 

Other than that, I'm holding my own over here.  Jamie's been keeping busy with family parties, work, grocery shopping, and Christmas shopping.  My dad is off of work until after the first of the year, so he's been keeping me company and watching Christmas movies with me.  My mom checks in almost daily in person, but certainly over the phone at least once a day.  Brooke and I talk a bunch of times each day, as well as blast up each other's cellies with texts.  Nick (my bro/Brooke's hubby) stopped by yesterday.  When he asked how I was feeling, I told him great and I hadn't spotted since last Friday!  Poor guy kinda winced in pain and informed me that he didn't need to know that.  Bless his heart, even after having a pregnant wife himself and being in labor/delivery with her, some things can still be tmi. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

anxiety, emotions, and empowerment

So, I don't have that many followers, but I do appreciate the 8 that I have very much.  I used to creep on IF blogs and message boards, so if I, in turn, have any creepers, this is for them too.  I know we're all at different places in our cycles and lives in general, but I think everyone can relate on some level.

Whether you are just starting trying to conceive, just got your bfp (or bfn), are in your first/second/third trimester, are already changing diapers, or are driving kids to school, life is still tough and each day is a challenge.  I know it can be a bitter pill to swallow when other women get pregnant.  I get it.  For almost three long years, I shed those tears more often than I'd like to admit.  Inside you really want to be happy.  You want to see her success as a glimmer of hope for yourself.  But no matter how hard you try, your mind drags you back to "Why can't it be me?  When will it be my turn?  What did I ever do to deserve this?"  That's how my mind operated.  Maybe my readers have better control of their psyche and emotions than I did.  I would obsess over pregnany bellies I'd see.  I'd try to remind myself that "she didn't take my baby, I wasn't next in line, and she cut, that's her baby".  I also tried to keep in mind that you can't judge a book by its cover.  Just because I saw a pregnant tummy, it didn't necessarily mean it came easily to her.  I wish there was a shirt to wear once I get my tummy that would announce that my pregnancy was "hard-won, fought for, not as easy as it may appear".  Something along those lines.  I know for all the tummies I looked longingly at, someone, somewhere will one day look at mine the same way and never know.

Now that I am finally pregnant, the fear and worry and anxiety are still there, just manifested in a different form.  This was a rough week for me.  Not a potty break went by that my heartbeat didn't quicken as I had to wipe and hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Especially when I'm cramping and spotting and had fresh-looking blood.  Especially when I'm waiting for results from bloodwork and pleading with God to let my baby be ok.  I used to be scared that my ivf or fet wouldn't work.  Now I'm scared that the pregnancy might not work, if that makes any sense.  I know I need to relax, but I've been told to "just relax" for three years now and I failed at it then, so I'll likely fail to relax now.

I will forever know what true pain is.  I always wondered if once an IF gets pregnant, does the pain just seem to go away?  Are they just overcome with joy and happiness that it becomes a distant memory?  I hoped it would, because no one deserves the pain that an IF feels.  At only 5 weeks 4 days pregnant, I haven't forgotten a single second of the years of heartache I've endured.  I don't anticipate that happening when I'm 5 months pregnant, or even putting 5 birthday candles on a cake in the future. 

Everything we experience, good or bad, shapes who we are and who we will become.  IF has changed me forever.  Before I started this blog last month, I grabbed just a spiral notebook that I was going to use as an IF journal of sorts.  On the inside cover I wrote a few of the quotes that I put on my "sayings" page.  On the first lined page I wrote a letter.  I'd seen Dear Infertility letters on other blogs and thought that might be a good place for me to start.  I'd like to share my letter:

Dear Infertility,
I want you to know, in no uncertain terms, that you will not win. You picked the wrong girl to mess with.  I will be a mommy, and I will win.

Thank you for forcing me to evaluate my life, my relationships, and my value as a woman, daughter, sister, friend, and wife. I have dug deep within my soul and heart as you made me cry myslef to sleep at night, and I have found strength, courage, dertermination, and drive that I didn't realize I had.

I will win each battle along the way to motherhood and stand victorious with my baby or babies one day.  You will not break me.  You will not shatter my spirit.  You will, in fact, be defeated, by me! 

That's a promise,

This was written on the eve of IVF#2.  A lot of changes had been made from August (after another bfn from fet#4), which I've written about in various posts and pages, but a monumental change occured that night within me, that I didn't really recognize until today.  My fragile being found an incredible, unshakable level of faith that had been missing for a while.  My Catholic faith wavered at times, but now... I had faith in myself.

Friday, December 17, 2010

here we go again

There's never a dull moment in my life, that's for sure.  I received a phone call from my nurse about an hour ago.  I should have just checked the stupid voicemail system, but they felt the eed to call me, which made my heart drop a bit.  Evidently, they want my progesterone level at 20 or higher right now.  On Monday, it was 46, and yesterday's bloodwork showed a drop to 20.  Great.  Just great.  I spent some time calling local pharmacies to find Endometrin 100mg vaginal suppositories.  Jamie had to wait a very long time after work at the pharmacy, but he's on his way home with it now.  I'll be taking these 3 times a day.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I will do whatever I have to do to maintain this pregnancy.  If they tell me poking needles into my pupils would make a difference, I'd do it. 

My nurse reassured me that they are just being very cautious.  I'm at the low end of where they want me.  I'll take some medicine to get it back up where it was.  Everything looked fine yesterday, and that is very important.  My beta from yesterday was 15,017, up a lot from Monday's 4,840.  I'm in good shape.  I'm on bedrest.  I'm eating right.  I'm taking my medicines.  And I'm still praying.  That's all I can do! 

This was my third scare/setback/dramatic performance this week.  I'm done!  No more!  Nothing but smooth sailing from here.

As my Grandma used to say... Holy Tony, cut out the baloney, and help me have a healthy pregnancy.  (She wasn't asking for a healthy pregnancy, I just filled in the blank!)  =)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

first pregnancy ultrasound

We had our first pregnancy ultrasound done today, courtesy of my red spotting episode on Tuesday.  I spotted dark pink this morning, but I didn't freak out this time.  I drank water, laid down on my side, and practiced my "soup breathing".  Soup breathing is what elementary schoolers do to calm down.  "Imagine you have a big bowl of hot soup in front of you.  Breathe in through your nose.  Can you smell the soup?  Ooh, it's hot!  Breathe out through your mouth to cool the soup off."  =)

Ok, so fast forward to my appointment.  Everything looked good!  My cervix is perfect; no irritation, inflamation, or bleeding there.  Inside my ute, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.  No blood clots or anything else that may be the cause of the bleeding.  Since I'm on heparin twice a day, my nurse said that could be the cause.  If there's a drop of blood loosened up from somewhere, most women would just absorb a drop or two back into their bodies and never know.  Between the baby aspirin and heparin, my blood is running very thin.  So thin, that instead of being reabsorbed (like during implantation maybe), it may leak out.  Mix that withcervical mucus and urine when I pee, that one drop of already thin blood may look like more that it really is.  Makes sense to me. 

That being said, I'm ordered to strict bedrest for the next week, until my next ultrasound.  I'm going to have to go FMLA for my time off of school, but I already have the note from my physician and now my RE.  I'm out for the first trimester, and the strictness will be determined on a weekly basis.  I'm ok with all of this.  I will be missing a big family party on Jamie's side this Saturday.  I'll miss his sister's birthday get together on Sunday.  I'm effecting everyone's Christmas plans because even if I'm released from strict bedrest on the 23rd, Christmas Eve at our house won't be the same as it's always been with food and desserts.  I LOVE to bake.  I live for this time of year and all the baking it holds for me.  But it is what it is.  I will do whatever I'm told to do to maximize my chances of keeping my baby.  Plain and simple.

As I had "a moment" on the phone with Brooke (bff/sil) this evening, she reminded me that we'll all be together and that's all that matters.  She went so far as to say even if we make Tombstone pizzas in the oven, it'll still be Christmas and we'll still be together and I'll still be pregnant which is more important than anything else.  Gotta love that Brooke.  She's a clutch hitter, always coming through when I need her. 

Jamie, God bless his heart, has been running like a madman to get some of our Christmas shopping done.  Well, he has stepped up to the plate and plans on baking!  He's a good sport and would do just about anything to make me happy.  We still aren't decorated all the way, but we may not be this year.  Not a single present is wrapped.  I filled out our cards yesterday, but need stamps in order to send them.  We'll do the best we can, and as long as we have each other, our little one, and our family, nothing else matters. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

how quickly things change

What a whirlwind the last 24-36 hours have been.  After the whole second beta scare, yesterday I went to work like normal, and right before I picked my class up from music, I stopped at the washroom.  I felt fine.  I still cramp up at times, but I hadn't had any spotting sine maybe Friday or Saturday.  So I go to the bathroom, and when I wiped, it was  red.  Like red, red.  And there's more of it than I have had so far.  Quite a bit more, but it wasn't heavy.  Just enough to freak me out.  I wiped a few more times as I began to hyperventilate.  Seriously.  I couldn't take a breath, just short gasps of air.  Then I began crying hysterically . 

Very long story short, I work with some very, very amazing and supportive people.  The social worker/pal of mine who knows what my deal is walked me to the nurse, they got me somewhat coherent and relatively normal (although I had several more boughts of breathing trouble and crying jags), and my mom was called.  She works super close to my house, so she left school.  My wonderful assistant principal drove me home to save time.  I called Jamie to let him know what was going on, but told him not to leave work until I heard from the doctor.  After a few phone calls I got a hold of my nurse and was ordered to the bed or couch until Thursday afternoon, which is wheh they're going to try a very, very, very early ultrasound.  I go back next Thursday the 23rd for what should have been my first real pregnancy u/s, but in leiu of yesterday they just want to see what they can see, if anything, at this point.  She also had me take my progesterone shot early to help relax my uterus.  My mom did not handle administering it very well.  She got the job done and I give her so much credit!  But I could tell it really bothered her to do it.  She asked a few times if I'd like her to drive me to her school and have the nurse do it.  =)  No way was that happening! 

So that's it.  I'm going to go lay back down and rest for now.  Any thoughts and prayers that can be spared are always appreciated!

Monday, December 13, 2010


After quite an emotional afternoon that included me flipping out and thinking the worst, a very late voicemail with my results (but no beta level), scheduling my pregnancy ultrasound, calling the nurse back because she didn't leave my beta, was given a low beta (still an increase, but only from 365 to 484. wtf happened), had my heart deflate, crying and crying and thinking it was all over, calling back 3 times to try to talk to my nurse, finally talking to a nurse, and getting my actual beta...

beta #2 = 4,840
Thank you God!

Stupid girl (not a nurse, don't know who she was) checked my chart for me since the nurses were busy and I didn't want to leave a message.  Apparently she didn't see the zero on the end!  Seriously. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

my symptoms prior to bfp

My second beta is tomorrow morning, so I'll be able to breathe a little easier after that's done.  After my transfer, I was keeping track of things that seemed different from the rest of my fets.  I just wrote them on paper because I was afraid to post them on here.  I didn't want to read to much into them and get my hopes up, just in case.  In the past, after negative betas, I always felt a bit foolish that I thought I had early pregnancy symptoms.  Now, I feel it's safe enough to share.

5 day transfer:
0dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
1dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day SOME ACHINESS, A FEW SHORT, SLIGHT CRAMPS
2dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining ACHEY, DISCHARGEY, BLOATED, PIMPLES
3dpt.. Implantation begins, as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining LOWER BACK PAIN
4dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining MEGA CRAMPS!!!  I was beyond terrified that it meant the end.
5dpt.. Morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells EMOTIONAL, SOME CRAMPS IN THE AFTERNOON, MY RIGHT QUADRICEP HURT (weird, but since I felt it, I wrote it down)
6dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood EMOTIONAL, SOME BROWNISH SPOTTING WHEN I WIPED (3PM ONLY)
8dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops CRAMPING 3 OR 4 TIMES DURING DAY
9dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on HPT  EXHAUSTED!!!  CRAZY SENSITIVITY TO SMELLS, CRAMPS, SPOTTING, BLOATING, PIMPLES
10dpt...beta= 365  Big Fat Positive (BFP)  (12-8-10, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception)  SENSITIVE TO SMELLS THAT NO ONE ELSE COULD SMELL BUT MY STOMACH WAS LURCHING THEY WERE SO BAD, CRAMPS

Since Wednesday, I'm still breaking out, which hasn't been an issue for me in a long time.  My lower back hurts mostly at night time.  I get occasional cramps day or night.  I've been peeing more at night.  Some of my work pants are tight already.  My boobs are hurting a bit.  I feel queasy in the morning, but haven't gotten sick.  And I'm just plain worn out.  I am not complaining, though, just documenting.  I will happily experience everything that's thrown at me as long as it means I'm pregnant!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The results are in...

I'm pregnant! 

I had my first beta on Wednesday, 12-8.  My blood draw was at 7, but I didn't get to call for the results until after school at 3:40.  My heart dang near pounded out of my chest.  The nurse was very calm and cool about leaving my message.  Just her tone in the first few seconds made my heart sink into my chest.  Here we go again, I thought.  But then, I heard those glorious words for the first time ever... "I'm calling to congratulate you, you're pregnant."  I started shaking so badly, my heart was about to burst out of my chest.  I'm pregnant. 

Since with IF, there are not many opportunities for surprises, I knew that Jamie would be trying to read my expression when I got home.  I stopped at the store and got him a BABY Ruth candy bar.  When I pulled up, he was outside with his truck on.  Evidently, he thought his chiropractor appointment was at 4:45 instead of 5:45.  So he came in the house with me, called to double check the time, and then took his coat off.  When he turned back toward me I handed him the candy bar.  He looked at it and was like "Yeah? It was postive?"  I nodded the whole time and told him that we were indeed pregnant.  We hugged, he cried, he went into a kind of shocked state for a few minutes, just saying "We're pregnant.  We're going to have a baby."  We then had to sit and listen to the message from the nurse a couple of times to get the directions.  They consider anything over 25 to be positive.  My beta was 365!  I go back on Monday for beta #2.  Every 2-3  days they want the number to double, so by Monday I should be around 1400 or so.  I took a hpt right away just to see what it looks like when it's positive!

We told my parents Wednesday night, Nick/Brooke/Dominick and Brooke's mom on Thursday, and will tell Jamie's parents today when he gets home from work.  Jamie and I were discussing it over dinner last night and by far, Brooke is the winner for best reaction so far! 

So that's what my last few days have been like, very unreal.  It still hasn't sunk in yet.  My dear friend/cousin Amber sums it up best as "cautiously expecting our first fet miracle" (although she has 2 miracles!).  I'm very excited, just extremely cautious.  I want that second beta.  I want to know a loose timeline for labs and ultrasounds.  I just want this little SnuggleBug to be healthy and stay put and grow.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

this is new

TMI alert...

Here's the deal, for my previous four transfers, my memory is very fuzzy about how I felt and what I experienced (if anything) during the 2ww.  But there is ONE symptom/side effect/ whatever you want to call it that I KNOW I never had before; spotting.  Yesterday, when I went to the washroom in the afternoon, I had some brown spotting on my underwear and when I wiped.  I was fine the rest of the day, but had some cramping and twinges.  This morning, I've had a bit more cramping, although none of it compares to Thursday.  Just now, when I peed and wiped, I had pink spotting.  I know this has never happened before, so I have to assume that it's an ok thing.  Never spotted before, never worked before.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll get my miracle...  Maybe someone found a snuggly spot inside and the spotting is what got loosened up during the snuggle...  I have hope.  For now, I'm parking on the couch, going to take it easy, and think good thoughts, just in case my theory is right.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

emotions and song lyrics

Yesterday I felt a million times better.  I had some slight cramping at night time, but nothing compared to Thursday.  I was, however, extremely emotional.  At the risk of sounding like a crazy person, I won't get into my history with the radio.  Let's just say that there have been more times than I can count that meaningful songs comes on the radio at exactly the right time.  Sometimes the songs are very specific to me, and other times the lyrics just seem to point me in a certain direction or even respond to something I was thinking about.  I do have witnesses to this happening!

So I had a lot of driving around to do yesterday.  Home to work (20 minutes), work to acupuncture (40 minutes), acupuncture to home (50 minutes).  I always, always have the radio on, and that's where most of my emotions erupted from.  I didn't have a connection yesterday, but certain songs just brought on the water works. 

In the morning, "White Christmas" got me started, so I turned off the Christmas music and popped in a mix cd. I regained my composure, but then "I Won't Back Down" (Tom Petty) sent me reeling.  "Heeeey, baby.  There ain't no easy way out.  You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down.  Gonna stand my ground, won't be turned around.  And I'll keep this world from draggin me down, but I'll stand my ground.  I won't back down"  (That's not the perfect order, btw, but you get the idea.)  I cried some more.

So then, on my way to acupuncture I start up again when I hear "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home".  I love this song, especially the Darlene Love version, which it was, so I know the lyrics and never had a problem.  But for some reason, yesterday "We're singing deck the haaaallls, but it's not like Chirstmas at aaaalllll....." blindsided me.  Sheesh! 

While I was waiting for my appointment, I turned off the radio (maybe I should have it disconnected?) and was playing around on facebook on my phone.  A friend of mine put up "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters."  How true is that?  There's so much fight left in me.  and like Tom Petty said, I won't back down.  So, I am adding this line to my affirmations, along with Henry Ford's "If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."  I can get pregnant.  I know I can.

I'll give you the abridged version of my ride home.  In the 50 minute ride, these songs made me cry: "Dynomite" (which is normally a get-pumped song for me)   "Up on the Housetop"  (seriously?) and "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue" ("a mighty suckerpunch came flying in from somewhere in the back, but as soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye, man we lit up your world like the 4th of July"  It's clearly a patriotic song, but I can connect anything and everything to my infertility.  Our suckerpunch is IF, black eye all the pain we've gone through for three years, we're working on a plan that will change everything) 

Once again, I turned the radio off, called Jamie.  Called my mom.  Then, 3 minutes from my house, as I'm once again pushing buttons, the Beastie Boys' "You gotta fight, for your right, to paaaaaarty" comes on.  Remembering that It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that matters...  I become empowered and belt out every chorus as "You gotta fight, for your right, to be a MOOOOOOMMMMY!"  No more tears.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I woke up this morning with cramps.  I started crying and basically freaking out.  For all of my past transfers, I had cramps at some point.  I think they happened later in the cycle, but since I didn't keep track, I could be completely wrong.  There was no point in even calling my doctor.  All they would say is if it gets bad, take one regular strengthg tylenol.  It is what it is.  Nothing's going to change it.  I do, however, realize that freaking about it certainly won't help the situation.  I need to stay calm and stress-free.  (ha)  The cramps came and went throughout the day, almost in waves at times.  I had a few really good cramps, but the rest were managable.  So, I'm kind of an idiot about this "achiness" I've been having.  I think I was sore and achey from the heparin.  When I saw my stomach this morning and how it's all bruised up, it hit me like a tone of bricks.  Perhaps that's the achiness.  (I've never been accused of being the brightest bulb on the tree.)

I just want to be pregnant more than anything.  To be this close, once again, and have it yanked away from me (right before Christmas, mind you) will be a devastating blow that I pray to God I don't have to deal with.  I'm still thinking positive thoughts.  I'm still going for acupuncture and doing everything else that I'm advised to do.  It's out of my hands right now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


As a teacher, I beg, borrow, and steal worksheets and ideas from all over the place.  No one should recreate the wheel, as they say!  I'm borrowing this, too, since I clearly didn't discover what happens after a frozen embryo transfer.  =)

I've seen this timeline on fertilty forums' message boards in the past, but I was redirected to it recently by Kate and her post, who also borrowed from a friend. 
5 day transfer:
0dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
1dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
2dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
3dpt.. Implantation begins, as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
4dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
5dpt.. Morula is completely implanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
6dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
7dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
8dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
9dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on HPT

Hopefully, this is what's going on.  My lower back has been hurting all afternoon and evening, and I'm still a bit achey at times, but that's it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

today was my Monday

I need to vent.  I went back to school today, and my kids confirmed in my mind that taking the first trimester off of work is exactly what I'll need to do.  I got "a note" from my sub, who I know very well.  She's a very tolerant person, so this was a big deal.  Not even 9 minutes into the day, shenanigans started.  Unbelievable!  They didn't miss me.  They didn't care that I came back.  They didn't feel sorry because I was "sick" yesterday.  No one cared (kid-wise, my coworkers care very much).  And the tress and aggravation they caused me 9 minutes into the day that just continued. 

In other news...
I can never remember how I felt at different stages of my previous transfers.  Was I achy before, or was it more cramping?  I don't know.  What I can tell you is this time around, I've had occasional achiness.  No period-like cramping that I used to wonder if it was implantation, or my period trying to force it's way through, or my body rejecting my own embryos (yup, that thought crossed my mind in the past).  So far, so good, but I'm only 2 days past a 5 day transfer.  (2dp5dt)  I have the timeline, and not much is happening in there just yet.  I don't think

Monday, November 29, 2010

what's done is done

Yesterday was my big day, and everyone was invited!  Not literally.  I invited God to be part of my day (as always) by paying a visit to His house.  I had my acupuncturist join in the fun.  And where would I be without having various hands of my medical team working their magic?
Here's how my day went:
7:45 pineapple core followed by breakfast buffet of medicine
8:30 grape juice
9:00 went to church with my family
10:00 home to change and gather my prayer stuff to bring with
11:00 acupuncture
12:30 quick stop at Buy, Buy Baby
1:00 arrived at doctor's office
1:15 Dr. Ding (I love his name) showed us our 2 beautiful embryos
1:45 ultrasound- I am informed that I did not drink anywhere near enough water.  She can't even see my uterus.  I start crying, am told not to panic, and proceed to pound 3 bottles of water. 
2:15 ultrasound- everything is beautiful, get the doc
2:30 I have 2 perfect embryos snuggling in.
Here are two changes from my old RE- 
At RE#1, after the transfer you'd lay there 5 minutes, get up and pee, get dressed and go home. 
At RE#2, after your transfer you don't move, they catheterize you to empty your bladder, invert the table so your feet are higher than your head, and you lay there for 15 minutes
2:45ish (not sure, a lot of blood rushed to my head on the tipped back table!)  I go and get dressed and get my discharge instructions. 
3:30 home and staying horizontal the rest of the night, per doctor's orders

Here's my photo journey:

my St. Gerard handkerchief, my St. Philomena chaplet, and my St. Anthony prayer card
My grandma used to always say "Holy Tony, cut out the baloney and help me (fill in the blank).

For all of my transfers in the past, I wished we had taken a picture to show our baby(s) how happy we were to be going to get them before the procedure.  This time I remembered! 

our purchase- a Cookie Monster bib
The stars of the show!  Hopefully 40 weeks from now one of these beauties will be wearing that bib. 
The bottom 2 pictures show our perfect, gorgeous, grade 1A, 5 day expanded blastocysts.
The top picture shows them both emerging after the assisted hatching.

The small bright white mark, just north of the syringe, is where my 2 embryos are.  It's hard to see, but trust me, it's there!

And now the waiting game begins, along with all the magic.  Any thoughts and prayers that can be spared and thrown my way are greatly appreciated.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

bromelain, selenium, and infertility

Right on the tag it mentions Bromelain!  I guess they didn't want to mention that it may help with embryo implantation.

Doesn't that woody, white core look most delicious?

all cut up

the part of the pinapple that normal people eat

the part of the pineapple that infertile people eat

I lifted this information off of

Using Pineapple to Assist Implantation: Pineapple contains bromelain. Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme that breaks up proteins that inhibit embryo implantation. Consuming a whole pineapple (focusing on the core as it has the highest concentration of Bromelain) during a fertility cycle can be beneficial.

For IVF [in vitro fertilization] cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day of your embryo transfer.

IUI [intra-uterine insemination] cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day of your IUI.

Timed intercourse cycle: one pineapple, divided into 5 portions - consume one portion each day, over five days, beginning on the day after ovulation.

Note: Be careful not to start consuming pineapple too early in the cycle. Beginning to consume pineapple BEFORE the recommended days above can actually affect your vaginal and cervical mucus PH, making it more acidic.

To boot, pineapples also contain selenium.  This is a natural antioxidant that is said to help promote a healthy endometrium (uterine lining).

Friday, November 26, 2010

my crystal ball

Even though I absolutely love being a teacher, I love staying home even more!  After I had parent/teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday (no kiddos since last Friday), I've had Wednesday, Thanksgiving, today, tomorrow, and Sunday off.  Since my transfer is on Sunday, I'll be taking Monday off as well, just to be a couch potato. 

Realizing that things never seem to go according to plan, here's my plan anyway:
Go back to work on Tuesday.
Endure the 2ww, and get my first ever Big Fat Positive
Finish out the last week of school before Christmas break.
Enjoy my Christmas miracle(s).
Let my principal know that I'll be on bed rest for my first trimester.
   *I have already spoken to my doctor about this.  After 3 years of trying to get pregnant, I will be doing everything in my power to stay relaxed and calm and happy and safe.  If I could put myself into a protective bubble, I'd do that!  For now, the best I can get is 13 weeks, free of work.
Go back to work mid-March.
Work for a month, until spring break.
Finish out the last 5 weeks of the school year.

This is my perfect, best-case scenario plan.  If I had a crystal ball, this is what I'd hope to see in it!

I just have so much more hope than I've had in a really long time.  Being home the last few days has really helped my anxiety level, too.  Like I said, I love my job, but it is very stressful.  I think just the timing of how this transfer is going down couldn't be more perfect.  Relaxation before hand for many days, work a few weeks, off for the first trimester, work a month, off a week, work a month, then summer.  It's like the stars have alligned, and this is just all meant to work out for once. 

As for today and tomorrow, I'll be cleaning and decorating.  I haven't quite decided if I'll be doing any shopping.  The idea of staying in my jammies all day and watching tv may win out.  I have a relly great technique so cleaning doesn't feel like cleaning.  If I'm watching tv, during every commercial break, I get up and clean for those 2 and 1/2  minutes.  When my show is back on, I'm back on the couch or bed.  it doesn't sound like much, but the time adds up and I work harder because I know it's only 2 minutes!  Well, it works for me.  I'd rather spend all day doing it like that than spend an hour or two cleaning nonstop.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I had another u/s and lab appointment yesterday.  They were hoping that my lining was at 10mm.  I was a bit nervous because I wasn't even on estrogen for a full week yet.  But my dear ole uterus came through for me once again, pulling in a strong 12.5 mm!  Since I have to be a buzzkill and worry about everything, I did ask if it can ever get too thick.  My nurse poo-poo'ed that thought!  She said Dr. Ding's, the embryologist whose name I just love to say, lucky number is 12.  He's tickled pink to have a lining reach 12 by transfer and here I was already there!  (insert a big sigh of relief)

My transfer will be on Sunday.  I received 1 mL of progesterone in oil this morning (oh, how I have missed those welts!)  and start doxycliclene tonight for 10 days (which is longer than RE#1).  Tomorrow I will increase pio to 2 mL and keep it there until my beta (and beyond, I hope).  I have acupuncture this afternoon, but I did give her a call already to see how she felt about Sunday.  I heart Dr. Liu; she's coming in Sunday morning just for me!  So, on my way to the transfer, we'll stop for some needles at 11.  Since I don't have to be at the doctor's office until 1 for a 2 o'clock procedure, depending on my emotional state, there may be time for a quick stop at Buy Buy Baby for a bib/onesie/rattle just to set the right mindset and tone for the next 2 weeks.  It's been a looonngg time since I felt the desire or hope to make a baby purchase, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the waffle cone

I had a great weekend, so I should have known that the other shoe would soon drop.  Yesterday I went to a thirty-one gifts party with Brooke (my bestie), and I didn't shed one tear or even give much thought to 1-the pregnant girl that was there, 2-the lady who told our hostess that her daughter is 4 months pregnant and she's exxcited to be a grandma (and she really likes her daughter's boyfriend, btw), or 3-the numerous little ones that were at the party.  In church this morning, a family that just had their 4th child sat in the row right in front of me, and again, no tears, no heaviness in my heart.  This was progress for me.  That being said, and remembering that I'm pumping some hormones now, it shouldn't be much of a surprise to this emotional eater that tears would be shed over food.  Food that my husband once again failed to deliver. 

Jamie and I went to a Wolves hockey game with my parents tonight.  We had a great day.  After the first intermission I spotted some lady with a delicious looking waffle cone with twisty ice cream in it.  I mentioned to Jamie (while he was horking down his pretzel with nacho cheese and a Pepsi)  that I'd like one of those during the next intermission.  Fast forward through 20 minutes of hockey.

Jamie and my dad are off to get me my twisty waffle cone during the 2nd intermission.  Jamie returns with a flipping shot glass full of plain vanilla for me.  WTF?!  I'm told they were out of waffle cones.  This is what he felt was an acceptable replacement?  Might I mention that my dad returned with a cup of chocolate ice cream, with chocolate syrup, and some kind of delicious candy on it!  What did I do to deserve such a subpar frosty treat?

I took one tiny bite and returned it to Jamie.  I let it be known that this was not what I asked for.  This was not what I wanted.  This was not ok and would not be consumed by me.  I got looks from my mom who mouthed at me to just eat it.  My dad sat at the far end, and I swear I saw him smiling and casting sideways glances at me as he ate his death by chocolate sundae.  I refused to eat the ice cream. 

Here's the thing- I know that Jamie is not in control of what the Allstate Arena has at their concession stands.  I get it.  They ran out of waffle cones.  But there is a whole gray area between a twisty waffle cone and a dixie cup full of plain vanilla.  Jamie's birthday is coming up, and I plan on making him apple slices, which are quite the labor of love.  Imagine how he'd feel if at his party I pull out a few boxes of Twinkies.  There's a whole gray area of desserts between homemade apple slices and cellophane wrapped sponge cakes. 

So we had to have a talk about how this made me feel when we got home.  I proceeded to shot my stomach with more heparin; I have quite the rainbow of bruises going on my stomach; and I got my estrogen ready.  After my shots, the water works started.  I just wanted a twisty waffle cone.  I saw other people with them, and I wanted one.  But I guess it just wasn't in the cards for me tonight.  I want a baby.  I see other people with them, and I want one.  I hope I get dealt a different hand.

I am just so mad at myself.  Instead of thinking about what a nice day I had, I have to dwell on the one thing I didn't have.  I do the same exact thing when I think about babies.  Instead of thinking about all of the wonderful things I am blessed to have in my life, I focus on the one thing that is missing, my baby.  I torture myself.  I can recongize that I'm doing this, but yet I can't move past it. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the game plan

So, yesterday's appointment for my ultrasound and bloodwork went well.  I started my meds last night.  I am a bit skeptical because I am taking so much less medicine for this fet than I used to with my first RE.  Seriously, so much less.  Here's the lineup:
1 prenatal vitamin
3- 500 mg metformin (throughout the day)
***I've had these going already.
1 baby aspirin
5,000 units of heparin, every twelve hours, subcutaneous in my stomach
0.2 mL of delestrogen, every other night, intramuscular in my booty

That's it.  No Lupron.  No little blue smurfy Estrace tablets.  No Alora patches.  I go back on Monday to check my uterine lining.  If it's at 10 mm, I'll start progesterone oil and antibiotics.  If it's not quite there yet, I'll be rechecked at the end of the week.  Clearly, there is a significant change in protocol. 

I am working very hard on staying positive.  Big changes will yield big results.  In addition to the medicines that have changed, I also:
- have been going for acupuncture
- have some fabulous new embryos to work with, although I often think about the ones still in cryo
- have been wearing a fertility bracelet with moonstone, rosequartz, aventurine, and an elephant charm
- have continued to pray to Saint Gerard, Saint Philomena, and Saint Anthony
- have found some kooky things that are worth a try (drinking 100% concord grape juice, keeping my feet warm and sleeping with socks on, and I will be eating a pineapple core for 5 days after my transfer because it contains bromelain which may help with implantation)
- have found positive fertility affirmations that I repeat throughout the day to myself (mind over matter?)

I have to smile as I think about some of the things I am "doing differently".  I guess I'm just at the point where I'll give anything a try.  None of it can hurt.  And if infertility ever takes me down, I'm going down swinging!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

let the games begin

Well, it's cycle day one, so I'll call my doc tomorrow to schedule the baseline and bloodwork for Wednesday.  If it all looks good, the meds will start Wednesday and we'll figure out exactly when my transfer will be.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

when Jesus keeps you up

I have had quite a week.  I'm a bit overwhelmed and stressed out with work, but who isn't?  Sometimes I just think that everyone else simply handles their stressors better, and I'm more reactive to them.  In addition to that, Thursday was my last day on birth control pills for this cycle.  Hopefully my period will be here by Monday and things can progress. 

I'm having some serious anxiety already about my fet in December, as well as mood swings.  Take yesterday evening- Jamie and I went out for dinner.  We start talking about our transfer, our embryos, the changes RE#2  has made to our cycle, and just our fears in general about it not working and what our plan would be after X-amount of time with RE#2.  I handled the conversation very well.  I was very hopeful and positive that we'll get pregnant with a healthy baby. 

Jump forward to bedtime.  I'm very sad.  Our 5 year wedding anniversary is coming up next month.  By now I had imagined having at least a couple of little ones running around the house with Greta.  So much time has passed and while a lot of things have changed, nothing has changed.  I'm no longer hopeful.  I lay in bed, trying to sleep, trying to watch tv, trying to pray to God to have mercy on me.  None of it works. 

I remember something that my boss said to me last year.  (You see, her baby was stillborn at 8 months, had difficulties getting pregnant again, pursued adoption, and the night, yes the very night, her home study was being done found out she was pregnant.  They had a little boy, are short term foster parents, and recently got pregnant again.  Her baby girl will be born with spina bifida in the spring.)  She said that when she was dealing with all of her pain and couldn't sleep, she knew Jesus was keeping her up for a reason, and she would read the Bible.  Well this hits me last night.  Maybe I'm being kept up for a reason.  Now, I'm not spiritually in the same place as she is.  I go to church every week.  I say prayers at bedtime.  I say special prayers to Saint Anthony, Saint Philomena, and Saint Gerard to help me get pregnant.  I'm just not the type that is interested in reading the Bible in my spare time.  Things can change, but right now, that's not me.

It hits me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere.  I need to crochet!  I've only crocheted 2 blankets in my whole life and they took me forever, one for Jamie and one for Brooke, and my Grandma got me started and taught me the patterns.  Grandma passed away three years ago.  But I need to crochet.  I hop on the computer and start googling and youtubing directions, which make no sense to me.  Dang.  Another plan of mine is about to unravel. 

Enter the second ton of bricks hitting me in the head.  I started crocheting a baby blanket just before we started trying to conceive (I'm very slow, and started the blankie a bit early, knowing I'd get pregnant very soon after trying so I'd have plenty of time to finish it).  It's all hidden in a plastic bag, in the basement, with all of the other baby stuff I have bought and can't look at right now.  I think about waking Jamie up to go get it for me (it's a basement, it's dark even with the lights on, there are spider webs), but decide against that and just get it myself. 

I found my bag and started crying.  I was another person when the yarn was bought and the blanket was started.  Infertility has changed me.  But maybe, by holding the yarn and crochet hook and continuing the stitches, I can harness some of the hope that I began the blanket with.  My blanket is not a real pattern.  It will not be like the Shells I made for Jamie or the Grannie Ripple/ ZigZag that was made for Brooke.  It's just rows and rows of a single crochet, the most basic stitch.  It was started by a happy girl who just knew she was stitching this neutral blankie for a baby that was soon to come and would be brought home from the hospital in it and be rocked to sleep in it.

Love and hope and dreams and rainbows with sunshine are in the first 32 rows of stitches.  Last night I added another row of love, but also in that row were tears and sorrow and heart ache and longing. 

So here is my afghan so far.  It's simple and basic, but I suppose so is the desire to be a parent.  I will keep plugging away at my afghan when Jesus keeps me up at night.  I will remember the Amanda that started the blanket, the Amanda that knew she'd be pregnant very soon.  That's the Amanda I want to be again.

165 stitches in a row, 32 rows so far, all full of love and hope

a close up of my simple, single crochet afghan
the baby yarn is white with little specks of blue, green, pink, and purple

the date on the receipt

Monday, November 8, 2010

the christening

So, after the whole miscommunication about bakery doughnuts, yesterday we had a christening for my cousin's baby girl.  My cuz had 1 ivf which ended up being an fet which ended with a beautiful baby girl.  On her first try!  Six months after daughter #1 was born, she got pregnant naturally.  Eleven months after daughter #2 was born, she got pregnant naturally and just had daughter #3.  And that was the christening that I cried through yesterday morning. 

My crying jag was even more painful and humbling because the chapel was very small and there were only about 25 of us there, including my cousin's husband's family who probably thought I was crazy for sitting there trying to wipe away my tears.  As if no one would notice.  Just when I reigned my emotions back in, I'd make eye contact with my cousin or the priest or cousin's hubby when he brought the guest of honor around for all of us to make the sign of the cross on and I'd lose control again.  With so few people in such a small place, I would have made an even bigger spectacle out of myself if I tried to sneak to the bathroom or out the door for fresh air so I just desperately poked at the corners of my eyes to stop the tears from streaming down my face.  It was quite an experience.  Might I mention that two rows up sat my brother videorecording the ceremony.  When the baby was being brought around, I silently begged and pleaded that he wouldn't turn around to try and capture the back row dwellers blessing the baby.  (I don't know if he did, I kept my eyes down.)

I try to be happy and share in other people's good fortune when it comes to babies, but it's just so hard.  I am NOT hating on my cousin for her good fortune.  I'm not.  It's just that I think the love needs to be spread a bit.  She already had a perfect baby, even two perfect babies, so why did she get more before I could even get one?  It's hard to be happy when I always imagined having a whole house full of children.  Now I'd be thrilled and blessed and fulfilled to have just one healthy baby.  That's all I'm asking for at this point. 

There are certain situations in life that are unavoidable.  I need to really think things through and decide (even at the least minute) if I am emotionally ready to handle what may come from these events.  I can't torture myself and rip open an unhealed would before the scab is ready to be flicked off.  Evidentally, scabs on the heart take exponentially longer to heal than all the rest.  I'll have to remember that in the future.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

after all these years

So, last Saturday I was feeling very "wifey" and made Jamie pancakes and vegetarian sausage patties, presented with apple slices and milk- all served as breakfast in bed (after 9 o'clock).  There were no ulterior motives.  I did it because I wanted to.  I knew he'd be surprised and it'd make him happy. 

Fast forward one week, to yesterday.  I hear his alarm go off at 7:20 on a Saturday.  What the heck?  Yeah, we had an appointment with the Direct TV guy, but he was going to show up between 8-12.  Jamie creeps out of bed, gets dressed, and goes downstairs.  My heart did a little leap!  My kindness was going to be returned with... bakery doughnuts!  I just knew it.  You know how you just KNOW some things?  Well, I knew it.  So, I stayed in bed dozing in and out for about another hour.  I get dressed around 8:30, just in case the cable guy is already here, and march happily downstairs, ready to be *surprised* by my loving husband and some yummy bakery doughnuts. 

I say hi to Greta and Jamie (who's dusting for some reason) and sort of scan the kitchen for the white wax paper bag.  I'm not seeing it and my heartbeat quickens a bit.  When I ask why he was up so early, he said he had to clean downstairs for the cable guy.  Huh?  No doughnuts?  Was Jamie all of a sudden a bachelor trying to seduce his date with how clean his place is?  Who cares if the cable guy sees our dust?  Where are my doughnuts? 

After a few unkind words, I angrily made myself, and only myself, chocolate chip pancakes with whipped cream!  They were good, but they tasted even better since Jamie didn't have any.  I made my point.  Or so I thought.

We have a christening this morning at 10 (which raises a whole different set of emotions in me), so we got to sleep in a bit later than usual for a Sunday.  Once again, as I get in the shower this time, I just know that when my shower's done our bed will be empty because Jamie learned a valuable lesson yesterday and I would have bakery doughnuts today.  When I turn the water off, I hear the tv on.  No, no, no, no, no.  It just can't be.  I was 100% sure Jamie wasn't going to fail me two days in a row.  Especially since I made my heart's desires so clear to him yesterday.  I cracked open the door, and he's laying in bed watching Fraggle Rock.  I, again, expressed my concern over where my breakfast was.  And he was all like "Aughhh, (slapping his forehead) I can't do anything right!" 

After all these years together, it's the small things in life that can make me happy.  Too bad when those small things don't happen (even after being clearly asked for), they can set me off, too.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

letting it all hang out

In need of another new hobby that I may or may not stick with, and after some time of creeping on other people's blogs, this morning I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl for myself.  I don't quite know what direction my blog will take.  I'm hoping to not to have too many pity parties.  I'm hoping to work through some emotions.  I'm hoping to have fun and just enjoy life for a while.  That's the plan.

As I have learned though, things don't always go according to plan.  If my plan had worked, I'd be a stay at home mommy with few little ones by now.  But my plan failed.  My plan and God's plan clearly are not one in the same.

I have been with my husband for over 11 years (we met at the end of my senior year of high school).  This December we'll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  And January will mark the start of our 3rd year trying to become a mommy and daddy.  (insert a big heavy sigh here)

We never imagined having a problem getting pregnant.  Never in a million years.  But infertility is a bitter pill that we were both blind-sided into swallowing.  I suppose that is a good place to begin our story, as we desperately try to journey From Here To Maternity.